“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Clarksville in Montgomery County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Clarksville in the Civil War

Changing Hands

Clarksville in the Civil War Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 24, 2013
1. Clarksville in the Civil War Marker
Inscription. Clarksville, a communication and transportation center was strategically significant because of the Cumberland River and the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville Railroad. The area’s rich agricultural produce—grain, livestock, tobacco, and corn—and the products of its iron industry reached the nation and world via these transportation assets.

Three forts on the Cumberland River, Forts Donelson, Defiance, and Clark protected this pro-Confederate town and many of Clarksville’s residents rushed to join Southern military units. After the surrender of Fort Donelson in February 1862, however, Union gunboats and troops from Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s army occupied Clarksville.

Federal control proved tenuous. The Confederates briefly reclaimed the town in August 1862; it returned temporarily to Union control in September 1862. The Federals occupied Clarksville permanently in December 1862 when Col. Sanders Bruce’s brigade took charge of the town and Fort Defiance, which was renamed Fort Bruce.

Clarksville became a gathering place for white Unionists and escaped slaves who were housed in tobacco warehouses along the river and near Fort Bruce. Eventually more than 3,000 refugees converged on the town, outnumbering local residents.

In 1863, after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation
Clarksville in the Civil War Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 24, 2013
2. Clarksville in the Civil War Marker
Proclamation, the Federals began to recruit free blacks and former slaves for military service. Some 1,800 joined the Federal army and were inducted into the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 101st U.S. Colored Troops in ceremonies on Clarksville’s public square.

Col. Sanders Bruce Courtesy Howard Winn
New York Herald, February 24, 1862 — Courtesy Howard Winn
Clarksville, 1876 bird’s-eye view — Courtesy Montgomery County Archives
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 36° 31.683′ N, 87° 21.694′ W. Marker is in Clarksville, Tennessee, in Montgomery County. Marker is at the intersection of Pubic Square and Main Street, in the median on Pubic Square. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Clarksville TN 37040, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Court House (a few steps from this marker); John Montgomery Statue (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Town Spring (about 700 feet away); Kennedy and Glenn's Bank (about 700 feet away); Clarence Cameron White (about 800 feet away); Surrender of Clarksville (approx. 0.2 miles away); Montgomery County Courthouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); Pioneer Newspaper (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Clarksville.
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 326 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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